Ex Credit Union boss avoids jail
A CREDIT Union manager from Tingley who stole £12,000 from customer accounts has avoided jail.
Beverley Johnson, also known as Beverley Farmer, abused her position working for the Leeds City Credit Union (LCCU) over a two- year period before her deception was uncovered, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Johnson, 52, of Rembrandt Avenue, was told that her offences were aggravated by the fact the Credit Union was used by “vulnerable” members of the community.
Leeds Crown Court heard Johnson’s offences took place between April 2007 and December 2008.
She was handed a two-month prison sentence, suspended for one year, and ordered to do 120 hours of of unpaid work after pleading guilty to 16 counts of fraud.
Paul Nicholson, prosecuting, said Johnson would transfer funds from customer accounts into credit union accounts held by her family and friends.
She was then able to access those accounts and remove the transferred money.
Mr Nicholson said: “In addition to that there was money moved backwards and forwards between customers’ accounts. We believe it was an effort to conceal the amounts taken out.”
Mr Nicholson said that LCCU did not have a strong system in place for detecting the offences. The matters came to light early in 2009 and Johnson was questioned by her bosses but continued to deny any involvement.
Police were not informed until December 2010 and Johnson was arrested and interviewed on four occasions. She claimed someone else must have used her password but finally admitted the offences at a hearing in August.
Jason MacAdam, mitigating, said the offences happened during a stressful period of her life when she was going through a divorce and was under financial pressure.
He said: “It was motivated by need, not greed.”
He said Johnson has no previous convictions and was ashamed at what she had done.
Sentencing her, Recorder Morris said the union was a “mutual society for those who are at the more vulnerable end of our community.”
After the case, former Leeds MEP Michael McGowan, who stepped down as LCCU president in January after leading efforts to clean it up, said: “We successfully rooted out members of senior management who abused their position of trust and almost destroyed the Credit Union.
“The Credit Union is now one of the most successful in the country and an example to the rest of the Credit Union movement in adopting zero tolerance to financial malpractice.”
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